Friday, 4 October 2013


Responding to the announcement by Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, that there will be a new Parades Commission appointment process, an Orange Order spokesman said:
“The Orange Institution, along with the other Loyal Orders and marching bands fraternity, will shed no tears at the replacement of the current Parades Commission.
Its end of term report will make for abysmal reading, validating its lamentable record of failure as an unaccountable body ill-disposed towards the traditional Protestant parading sector.
We trust this appointment process will only be memorable in that it is the last by a serving Secretary of State. 
Rather than new personnel operating the same failed system, what is urgently required is the replacement of the Public Processions (Northern Ireland) Act 1998 with a better regulatory mechanism. 
By engaging positively in the Haass talks, the Orange Institution remains committed to finding a replacement to the Parades Commission. 
Parading policy and legislation must be based on civil and religious liberties for all and special privileges for none.”

Wednesday, 2 October 2013


The County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast has expressed dismay at the latest Parades Commission determination denying Ligoniel brethren from completing their traditional Twelfth parade.

A spokesman said: “The Twaddell Initiative outlined by the County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast was a genuine and sincere attempt to resolve the current impasse, and reach an equitable solution allowing our Ligoniel brethren to complete their Twelfth parade in a dignified manner.

“It is shameful that the Parades Commission – who created the situation at Woodvale – choose to consistently deny civil and religious liberty for all in north Belfast, and blatantly ignore a commitment by the Institution to full and open dialogue with Ardoyne residents following the completion of this long-held and traditional parade. Rather, they continue to consume only the republican narrative, succumb to the threat of violence posed by dissidents and in doing so have poisoned the positive atmosphere emanating from the Haass talks.

“However despite this setback, the Orange family and our Unionist partners involved in the Civil Rights Camp remain determined to peacefully and resolutely maintain the ongoing presence at Twaddell Avenue. The campaign will continue for the lodges to be allowed to go home.”

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Ulster Day Church Service & Parade 2013

LOL1845, with Officers and Brethren from  Grand Lodge and the City Grand Lodge of Londonderry, cross the River Foyle on Craigavon Bridge.

Last Sunday, 29 September 2013, The Rising Sons of William, Queen's University L.O.L. 1845, held it's Annual Ulster Day Church Service and Parade in Londonderry, the United Kingdom City of Culture 2013, with the kind permission of the City Grand Loyal Orange Lodge of Londonderry.

The Lodge paraded from Bonds Street in the Waterside to St. Columbs Cathedral via Craigavon Bridge and the Diamond War Memorial.

We were accompanied by the Grand Master and Grand Secretary of Ireland, Officers and Brethren from the City Grand Lodge of Londonderry, Sisters from the Loyal Association of Orangewomen, the County Grand Master of the Royal Arch Purple Chapter and Junior Brethren and Sisters.

The parade was led excellently by Killaloo Accordion Band.

Wor. Bro. Mark Dunn LL.M. (Worshipful Master Queen's University LOL 1845), Rt. Wor. Bro. Dr. Rev. Stanley Gamble BA Mth DPhil (Grand Chaplain), Most. Wor. Bro. Edward Stevenson BAgr (Grand Master), Very Rev. William Morton (Dean of St Columbs, Londonderry), Rt. Wor. Bro. Drew Nelson LL.B. (Grand Secretary) & Rt. Wor. Bro. James Hetherington (CIty Grand Master of Londonderry)

A special service of Choral Evensong was held at St. Columb's Cathedral, Londonderry, for the Officers and Brethren of Queen's University Belfast L.O.L. 1845 and guests.

The Dean, the Very Reverend Dr. William Morton welcomed the lodge to the Cathedral, and in particular, the Grand Master, the Most Worshipful Bro. Edward Stevenson who was in attendance.

The Choir sang the entire service, which included Psalm 118: 14-29 and the canticles Magnificat and Nunc Dimitis.

Bro. Alan Steele read the first lesson (Nehemiah 2) and the Grand Secretary, Rt. Worshipful Bro. Drew Nelson read the second lesson (1st Peter 2.1-17). The prayers were said by the Grand Chaplain, Rt. Worshipful Bro. Reverend Stanley Gamble, who also preached the sermon.

During his address, Reverend Gamble spoke about the life and times of Nehemiah, the great Hebrew leader who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. He said, "Nehemiah was a man of vision, a man who not only saw the need of his people, but who acted to meet that need. He gathered around him a team to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and successfully withstood opposition from without and conspiracy from within. He was a man of faith who God used to renew the life of his people and to give them hope for the future." Reverend Gamble went on to encourage lodge members to be leaders of the future by rebuilding the lives of people around them and by restoring the fortunes of their community.

The Anthem for the service was Urbs Fortitudinis (We have a Strong City), sung to a setting by Michael Franklin, sometime organist of the Cathedral. William Blake's acclaimed hymn Jerusalem also featured as one of the hymns.

Worshipful Master of the Queen's University lodge, Worshipful Bro. Mark Dunn LL.M., thanked the Dean and Choir for the service, and congratulated them on their efforts as part of the UK City of Culture 2013. He also thanked the City Grand Lodge of Londonderry, for all their help in organising the Parade and Service on the Lodges behalf; the Band, for it's excellent playing to and from the service; and all the guests for attending.

An excellent day in Londonderry was completed with a return parade to the Waterside in beautiful autumn sunshine.

Saturday, 28 September 2013


Mike Penning MP; Course Participants, Kelly Jones and Alastair McCracken; and Rt. Wor. Bro. Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary

A GROUP of Orange students have been commended after completing a leadership course, co-coordinated by one of the Province’s leading universities.

A total of 37 young people (aged between 18 – 35) successfully participated in the inaugural EU PEACE III funded STRIPE (Stepping Towards Reconciliation in Positive Engagement) Young Leaders course at Queen’s University.

A certificate presentation ceremony at the Belfast campus was attended by Mike Penning MP, Minister of State for Northern Ireland.

Other dignitaries in attendance included Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland MLA, Dr Cathal McManus (Open Learning Programme Co-ordinator – Queen's University) and Lorraine McCourt, Director (Special European Union Programmes Body).

The 'Leadership and Management' course is delivered in partnership between the STRIPE Project, funded by the European Union’s PEACE III Programme, and Queen's University.

Students were provided the opportunity to acquire a knowledge of leadership and management approaches and the opportunity to analyse the concept of leadership and the role that leaders play in society.

STRIPE Leadership Development Officer Richard Forsythe explained:
“There will be several benefits to those who have participated on the course such as a recognised qualification from Queens University Belfast, students have been provided with the opportunity to analyse the concept of leadership and the role that leaders play in initiating and implementing change and reform. Students have been encouraged to participate and debate examples that benefit Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Republic of Ireland.”

The course also included a visit to Hondarribia in Northern Spain to study the management of contentious parades.

Offering his congratulations to all those who participated, Mr Penning said:
“I am delighted to see so many young people actively involved in this exciting and important course. They are leaders of the future and the skills and experience they have gained will ensure that they are better equipped to play a positive role within the community in the years ahead. I wish them and the course every success in the future.”

STRIPE Project manager William Leathem said:
“I would like to pay tribute to all those students who have successfully completed this inaugural leadership course. I have no doubt the skills they have acquired will be of huge personal benefit to their respective careers going forward. Our appreciation must also go to Queen’s University for facilitating such a valuable educational project.”

Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Drew Nelson, said:
"An exciting part of this project is identifying young leaders, building their capacity and developing their skills so that they can play a full role in shaping society. We look forward to the continuing development and growth of this leadership course in Londonderry and Belfast in 2014."

This year, the Leadership and Management course has been running in Brookeborough, Co Fermanagh. Students are due to travel to Italy next month to explore the management of competing minority cultural rights.

For more information on the Young Leaders course, contact the STRIPE Project on 028 3832 6986 or email


In April 2012, the Orange Order received a grant of almost £900,000 from the European Union to help address the legacy of the Troubles in the Protestant community, particularly in interface and border areas of Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Republic of Ireland.

Seven full-time staff are working on the project which is being financed until December 2014.

The STRIPE Project received £884,022 from the Special EU Programmes Body.

The Special EU Programmes Body is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland and the Department of Finance in Ireland. It is responsible for managing two EU structural funds Programmes PEACE III and INTERREG IVA designed to enhance cross-border co-operation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society. The programmes operate within a clearly defined area including Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and in the case of INTERREG IVA, western Scotland.

The PEACE III Programme, funded under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is worth €333 million and is aimed primarily at reinforcing progress towards a peaceful and stable society and promoting reconciliation. It focuses on helping Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland to reconcile communities and contribute towards a shared society.

For more information on the SEUPB please visit

Saturday, 17 August 2013


The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has welcomed the decision of First Minister Peter Robinson not to proceed with the development of a proposed conflict resolution centre at the site of the former Maze Prison. Deputy Grand Master Rev Alistair Smyth said:
“The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has always maintained that the development of a so-called peace centre at the site of the former Maze Prison would serve to only deepen the trauma and prolong the healing process of the innocent victims of terrorism.
“This commonsense decision will be broadly welcomed across the wider Unionist family; but more importantly by those who suffered directly as the result of the vile terrorist campaign waged by republicans. Their resolve, dignity and quiet determination over recent months is to be greatly admired. 
“The Orange Institution, which has lost 337 brethren as a consequence of terrorism, consulted internally among our membership and directly with various victims’ groups on this deeply emotive issue. 
“From these conversations it was made abundantly clear those concerned will never countenance the prospect of a so-called peace centre at the very site, where those who inflicted nothing but anguish and sorrow upon the law-abiding majority, were quite rightly incarcerated for their horrific crimes. We make no apology for standing up for the rights and entitlements of innocent victims. 
“Rather than now engage in political point scoring, we would call on all our Unionist elected representatives to act in the best interests of those who have suffered most and unite in their resistance to the increasingly galling attempts by republicans to re-write history and glorify terrorism.”

Tuesday, 23 July 2013


THE Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has offered its best wishes to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge following the birth of their first child and future monarch. Grand Master Edward Stevenson said:
“The Orange Institution is delighted by today’s wonderful news and on behalf of the entire membership I wish to convey our warmest congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of a baby boy. 
We offer the Royal couple God’s richest blessing as they come to terms with parenthood and wish the new family unit health and happiness in the months and years ahead. 
Amid times of austerity and economic gloom, the birth of a Royal baby who will one day succeed his father to the throne is welcome, inspirational and uplifting news. The new-born’s arrival will be celebrated across the whole of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and indeed the wider world. 
Today’s announcement will be met with great joy particularly here in Northern Ireland, where the Royal family is held in such high esteem and unrivalled affection. Members of the Orange fraternity around the globe, including the Republic of Ireland, will also be heartened by this magnificent news. 
On such an historic occasion, the future monarch and entire Royal family are assured the continued prayerful support, service and loyalty of the Orange Institution. God Save The Queen.”

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Socio-economic Impact of the Protestant Parading Sector

Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Drew Nelson, comments on the findings of a Socio-economic report on the contribution of the Loyal Orders and bands community to wider society. The full report can be downloaded via the Orange Order's website -

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Orange Order raises funds for Children's Hospice

Orange Order Grand Master Edward Stevenson and Siofra Healy, Director of Income Generation with the Northern Ireland Children's Hospice, show their appreciation after over £17,000 was raised for the local charity. The Loyal Institution chose the Children's Hospice as its charity partner for the Ulster Covenant celebrations and family fun day at Stormont last year. Picture by Darren Kidd/Presseye.

THE Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has raised over £17,000 for a local children’s charity, following a major Loyal Order parade last year.

Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice was chosen by the Institution to be the main benefactor of the Ulster Covenant centenary celebrations in Belfast on September 29.

As well as collecting funds from the huge crowds which descended on the Stormont estate, many individual lodges across the Province contributed to the overall total by organising separate fundraising ventures.

The money raised will pay for Children’s Hospice community nurses who provide specialist care to children and young people in their own homes, across Northern Ireland.

Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson, said it was “humbling” for the Institution to help the many young people and their families who depend on hospice services.

He said: “It is both a privilege and an honour for the Orange Institution to support such a worthwhile cause.

“As well as commemorating a seminal event in the history of the British Isles, those in attendance at our memorable Ulster Covenant celebrations, and brethren through other fundraising initiatives, have left a lasting legacy to many families who depend on hospice care within the community.”

He added: “Children’s Hospice community nurses provide a vital and invaluable service, offering practical and emotional support for children and young people availing of hospice services. We hope this large donation will go a long way in helping Children’s Hospice to continue providing their special services.”

Director of Income Generation with the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, Siofra Healy, said: “Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice has to raise £2.5 million every year through public donations and fundraising events. We couldn’t do it without the ongoing support from all communities across Northern Ireland, and for that we are extremely thankful.”

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


AN Olympic medallist – and Orangeman – has been recognised for his sporting achievement at this year’s Orange Community Awards.

Coleraine rower Alan Campbell received the esteemed Grand Master’s Award at the annual awards ceremony held in Londonderry on Saturday night, in recognition of his bronze medal success at London 2012.

The oarsman, 29, was just one of a large number of individuals and Lodges to be formally acknowledged by the Loyal Institution for their community outreach and achievements over the past 12 months.

Addressing attendees at the Waterside Theatre via a video message from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – where he is currently in training for the 2016 Olympics – Mr Campbell said he was humbled by the award.

The Grove LOL 648 member said: “It is a great honour to receive this award. The Grand Master’s prize is very, very special and I don’t take it lightly.

“In part, I do have to thank the support I’ve had from my own Lodge in Garvagh, my wife, Juliette, and my mum and dad.”

He added: “I hope with your continued support through to Rio 2016, I’ll not only bring home gold to Coleraine and Northern Ireland - but also for the Orange Order.”

Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson – who personally nominated the sportsman – presented the award to Alan’s parents, William and Jenny.
Paying tribute to the rower, Mr Stevenson said: “We in the Orange Institution were rightly proud to witness one of our own members excel at the highest level on the world stage. Alan’s heroic feat, coming after a rigorous and demanding training schedule, was an inspiration to all of us.”

“Alan is not only a fine ambassador for the Orange Order but also Northern Ireland as a whole.”

The Grand Master hailed the achievements of all nominees at this year’s awards.

He said: “The purpose of the Community Awards is to formally recognise those unassuming Orangemen and women - the ‘unsung heroes’ - for the sterling work they do in the wider community, often quietly under the radar.

“While victors were declared in each of the designated categories, all of the nominees were winners in their own right and are fully deserving of our admiration.

“I would like to personally congratulate each and every one of them for being standard bearers for the Institution as well as in their own communities.”

Other prize winners at ‘The Grands’ included the members of Randalstown District LOL 22, who claimed the Best Charity Fundraising Lodge title.

Last year, South Antrim brethren presented £13,000 to various military benevolent charities by producing a commemorative badge in memory of two soldiers (Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar) murdered by dissident republicans outside Massereene Barracks, Antrim, in 2009.

Previously, Randalstown District presented a cheque for £15,000 to the Royal Engineers Association.

One of the most keenly contested awards was the Outstanding Community Leadership category which was jointly won this year by Orangemen Gary Wilson and Trevor Lockhart.

Both men were nominated for their dedication and commitment to the Institution and wider community.

Mr Wilson, from Fermanagh, was the main organiser of the world record banner parade held last July in the lakeland county to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the centenary of the signing of the Ulster Covenant. An unprecedented 420 banners, representing Lodges across the Province and beyond, were paraded through the village of Kesh.

The Dromard LOL 284 member was also instrumental in arranging a successful re-enactment of Sir Edward Carson’s 1912 visit to Enniskillen in September.

Mr Lockhart, from Dungannon, received equal recognition for the pivotal role he played in the formation and ongoing development of the local Bawn Development Association.

The Tyrone Orangeman – who has missed only one Lodge meeting in over 40 years as a member of the Institution – was actively involved in sourcing and applying for funding to develop a community hall in the area.

The Best New Banner Award went to Drumlough Heroes LOL 153 (Rathfriland) for its unique tribute marking the centenary of the Titanic tragedy.

Their new bannerette was painted in honour of a Past Master of the Lodge – Thomas Rowan Morrow – who was the only third class passenger from Ulster to perish onboard the famous vessel in 1912.

All seven short-listed banners were painted by local artist William Magowan, who personally received the Banner Painter Award.

Other prizes presented at the event – now in its eighth year – included the Individual and Lodge Community Involvement awards, the Chaplains Award and Special Merit awards among others.

City of Londonderry Grand Master, James Hetherington, welcomed members of the Institution to the awards ceremony in a landmark year for the north west.

He said: “2013 marks an exciting and important year in the city of Londonderry when the first ever UK City of Culture is celebrated. We are determined that the Orange culture will be celebrated and showcased throughout the coming months, with this awards ceremony being the first of a number of events planned over the coming months.”

As part of the City of Culture programme, Londonderry will host a Twelfth demonstration in July.

Notes to Editor:


Grand Master’s Award
Alan Campbell, Grove LOL 648

Best Charity Fundraising Lodge
Winner – Randalstown District LOL 22
Runner-up – Newtownards Ex-servicemen LOL 1952

Outstanding Community Leadership
Joint Winner – Gary Wilson, Dromard LOL 284
Joint Winner – Trevor Lockhart, WJ Marshall Memorial LOL 848
Runner-up – Alan Elliott, McKinley LOL 1539

Individual Community Involvement
Winner – John Thompson, Killultagh LOL 147
Runner-up – Gary Wilson, Dromard LOL 284

Lodge Community Involvement
Lurgaross Orange Heroes LOL 620

Best New Banner
Winner – Drumlough Heroes LOL 153
Joint Runner-up – Loughries True Blues LOL 1948
Joint Runner-up – Cranfield Single Star LOL 907

Banner Painter Award
William Magowan

Chaplains Award
Rev Nigel Reid, Glentimon Sons of William LOL 386

Orange Standard Award
Gerald Topping, LOL 99

Youth Development Award
Gary Hutchinson, Mullabrack Hearts of Steel LOL 1406

Special Merit Award
Winner – Ivan Buchanan, Barron LOL 627
Winner – Gavin Hunter, Magherknock LOL 703
Winner – Rita McCutcheon, Tempo Guiding Star WLOL 210

Musician’s Merit (Group)
Brookeborough Flute Band

Musician’s Merit (Individual)
Winner – Gareth McLees, Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band
Runner-up – Keith Little, Markethill Fiddle Orchestra